GATINEAU, July 23, 2018
The men’s and women’s singles finals took place on Sunday at the Gatineau National Bank Challenger. The tournament featured a mixed draw, with the men competing in the $75,000 ATP Challenger event and the women competing in the $25,000 ITF Challenger event. The tournament was held from July 14 to 22 at Parc de l’Île in Gatineau.
The first match of the day opposing Ugo Humbert of France and Bradley Klahn of the United States was delayed by intense rainfall. The 27-year-old US-American, the tournament’s fifth seed, was coming into the tournament having qualified for the main draw and then reaching the second round at Wimbledon. For his part, Humbert is in the midst of a breakout season, reaching a career high ranking of no. 257 and taking home three titles, including one at the Gatineau Futures earlier this year.
Once the match got started, it was Klahn who came out flying, breaking his opponent early. The more experienced US-American, who was ranked as high as no. 63 in 2014, did not show any signs of fatigue, as he had played the night before in the doubles final, which he won. While both players struggled on serve in the first, it was Klahn who managed to get the extra break he needed to take the lead in the match. The second set was much tighter, as both players cleaned up their game with neither player giving an inch. In the tiebreak, Klahn edged out his opponent to capture the title by a score of 6-3, 7-6(5). This is the first time in his career that he has won the singles and doubles titles at the same tournament.
After the match, both players were very positive when speaking about their time in Gatineau. “This has been a great week for me. I would like to thank everyone who helped to make this tournament possible, including the ball kids, the organizing committee and the volunteers. I have now won the doubles twice and the singles once, I feel right at home here,” said Klahn after his victory.
Sharma takes women’s title
The women’s final opposed Astra Sharma of Australia and Victoria Rodriguez of Mexico, the tournament’s eighth seed. Prior to coming to Gatineau, Sharma had reached the quarterfinals at the Winnipeg Challenger and was crowned champion at a tournament in Louisiana. Rodriguez is also on a recent hot streak, having won a singles title in Thailand and the doubles title in Winnipeg last week.
In the first set, Rodriguez jumped out to an early lead. Despite having played a semi-final match that lasted twice as long as her opponent the previous day, she had fresher legs and was able to control play. The tides turned in the second as Sharma elevated her game, notably cleaning up her errors. She continued her strong play into the decider, taking home the title by a score of 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Although this was her first time playing in Gatineau, Sharma had great things to say about the tournament. “This was my first year in Gatineau, but I really enjoyed the experience. I felt right at home all week, especially with the crowd cheering me on. Thank you to everyone who supported me,” stated the champion.
The Gatineau National Bank Challenger was the first of two mixed draw tournaments held in Quebec during the month of July. The tournament will be followed by the Granby National Bank Challenger.